5 Most Common Sports Injuries and How To Prevent Them

As we ease into Fall, the weather is perfect for all of our favorite outdoor activities. With those activities, however, come the occasional injuries. Here are tips from Atlanta's leaders in Sports Medicine on how to prevent the five most common sports injuries:

1. Foot and Ankle Stress
Stress fractures are small cracks in bones that often develop from overuse and commonly occur as a result of increases in high-impact activities.

Tip #1: Don’t do too much too often. Start slowly and ease your way into a routine.
Tip # 2: Maintain a healthy diet. Calcium and vitamin D-rich foods help build bone strength.

2. Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee refers to a number of medical conditions that cause pain around the front of the knee.

Tip #1: Stay in shape. Good conditioning is important to control and prevent pain. Weight loss also helps prevent over-stressing the knees.
Tip #2: Ice. Apply cold packs or ice wrapped in a towel for short periods of time, several times a day.
Tip #3: Compression. Use a knee sleeve with the kneecap cut out that fits snugly without causing pain.

3. Meniscal Tear
Meniscal tears are among the most common knee injuries and often happen during sports. Athletes who play contact sports are at the highest risk for meniscal tears.

Tip #1: Warm up properly. A good warm-up will get your knee ready for activity.
Tip #3: Stretch, strengthen and incorporate balancing exercises. It is important that the muscles around the knee be in top condition. Work on the strength and flexibility of all the muscle groups in your leg.
Tip #3: Use proper footwear. A good pair of shoes will help to keep your knees stable, as well as provide adequate cushioning and support.

4. Shin Splints
Shin splints are pain or tenderness along or just behind the inner edge of the tibia, the large bone in your lower leg. They usually develop after physical activity, such as running longer distances or on hills.

Tip #1: Consider arch supports. If you have flat arches, they can help immensely.
Tip #2: Lessen the impact. Cross-train with a sport that places less impact on your shins, such as swimming, walking or biking.

5. Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation that occurs from overuse, such as frequent jumping in basketball or volleyball. 

Tip #1: Warm up. Before and after starting any activity or workout, stretch the leg muscles and tendons to avoid sudden injuries. This also helps prevent the buildup of stress in your Achilles tendon.
Tip#2: Take a break. If you participate in sports such as basketball or volleyball, make sure to give your legs and your Achilles tendons sufficient rest periods.

Your sports-related injury doesn’t have to sideline you. Follow these helpful tips to reduce the risk of sports-related injury. However, if pain or swelling starts during the course of any activity, rest for a few days. If the pain continues, call 678-312-5000 for a physician referral or to get more information.

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